Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cruise Travel: Opening of New Port at Falmouth, Jamaica Delayed. Again.

Tomorrow was supposed to be the day for the first cruise passengers to arrive at the brand new port at Falmouth, Jamaica.

As Cruise Diva reported last November, October, and even as far back as May, the area simply isn't ready for prime time. Yes, the pier is complete, but just about everything else isn't. The buildings pictured here have roofs, but are windowless.

Even the Jamaica Observer ran a story earlier this week entitled "New Falmouth Cruise Ship Pier Not Ready." After a tour, their first-hand assessment didn't sound promising: "Looking more like a bomb went off on the site than a high-class tourist trap when the Sunday Observer visited, the new Falmouth mega-liner cruise terminal was obviously far from complete."

Ouch! And the news from the island only gets gets worse. Construction workers on the Falmouth project went on strike over a wage and tax dispute last Monday. Reportedly, they are back on the job, but no doubt the work stoppage set the project behind even further.

With Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas scheduled to visit the port tomorrow, Cruise Diva asked Royal Caribbean for the latest and received the following statement:
Since 2008, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has been working with the government of Jamaica to build a brand new cruise destination–Historic Falmouth Jamaica. The Port of Falmouth is the largest development project in the Caribbean basin in years. Although the development project is on schedule, the Government of Jamaica and Royal Caribbean have jointly decided to postpone passenger ships arriving into Falmouth until next month. This past weekend, Royal Caribbean and the Government of Jamaica toured the development together and decided that it is not quite ready to deliver the high standards we are striving for. Much capital and creative energy has been invested in this project and we want our guests to be WOWed, and their Falmouth experience to be memorable.

We look forward to beginning ship calls at what will be one of the best cruise ports in the Caribbean. Construction of the new thematic village continues at a fast pace and numerous administrative agencies of the Jamaican Cabinet Ministries of Culture, Tourism and Transportation have initiated enhancements to the town of Falmouth. Ships will start calling on Port Falmouth on February 17, 2011, with the first being Royal Caribbean International's Voyager of the Seas, sailing out of Galveston, TX, followed by Freedom of the Seas out of Port Canaveral, FL, and Navigator of the Seas out of Fort Lauderdale, FL. Historic Falmouth Port will receive Oasis of the Seas on March 22, 2011. During January and part of February, the ships will call at their traditional Jamaica ports of call.

In addition to the history and local Jamaican culture that Falmouth has to offer, the port is ideally situated between two of Jamaica’s existing cruise ports–Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. This optimal location means that guests visiting Falmouth will be able to enjoy any of the best tours and shore excursions of northern Jamaica. For example, east of Falmouth lies the famous Dunn's River Falls, Dolphin Cove, Mystic Mountain, and various adventure tours. To the west are Rose Hall, Mountain Valley River Rafting, and a selection of beach tours. And within 15 minutes of the port is the Martha Brae slow River Rafting, as well as the Good Hope Estate, with a variety of innovative tour products that combine adventure and history.
Photo above: the Port of Falmouth, Jamaica; taken Thanksgiving week 2010.

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